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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 22 February 2001

22 February 2001

22 February 2001 A committee of legislators in Kentucky has approved a measure which would define life as beginning at the moment of conception. The bill, which was passed by the judiciary committee of the state senate without dissent, would allow criminal wrongful death charges to proceed in cases where an unborn child had been killed at any stage of his or her development. The same committee also approved a measure which would apply all state laws regarding abortion to the RU-486 abortion drug. [AP, from Messenger-Inquirer, 21 February ] The issues of life and abortion have reportedly been given foremost attention during the Vatican secretary of state's current round of meetings with Italian political parties. Cardinal Angelo Sodano has been encouraging Italian politicians to uphold values of central concern to the Church. [LifeSite, 21 February ] Figures released yesterday indicated that 27 terminally ill people ended their lives last year under Oregon's assisted suicide law. This total is the same as for 1999. In all, 39 prescriptions [under the terms of the law] were written in 2000, up from 33 the year before. It has been estimated that since Oregon's Death With Dignity Act came into force in October 1997, at least 70 people have availed themselves of its provisions. All those who have taken their lives under the law have been prescribed a federally controlled substance and opponents of assisted suicide hope that President Bush will issue an executive order making it difficult to prescribe such drugs for the purpose of suicide. [, 21 February] A national opinion poll conducted in Canada has found that a majority of the population opposes reproductive cloning but supports so-called therapeutic cloning. 62% of respondents in a survey conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers signalled their support for the use of stem cells taken from human embryos to produce new organs, and 60% supported research on embryos for the same purpose. This contrasts with a recent poll conducted in the United States which found that 72% were against the cloning of humans for any purpose. [LifeSite and National Post , 21 February; also see news digest for 14 February ]

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